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Final Fantasy VII Remake: Our Sequel Wishlist

by Joe Juba on Nov 26, 2020 at 01:00 PM

The success of Final Fantasy VII Remake hinged on one central question: Would Square Enix be able to respect the classic 1997 original while also creating a modern RPG that was good on its own merits? When the game released earlier this year, fans learned that the answer to that question was a resounding “yes.” The years of anticipation paid off, and the end result was a memorable journey that artfully mixed old and new. But with that matter settled, a new question has arisen: Can Square Enix do it again?

While the first game was undoubtedly a complete experience, much of the original story remains to be told. The second installment of the Final Fantasy VII remake is already in production, and the development team is undoubtedly weighing how to approach this next chapter. As much as I personally enjoyed this year’s release, the formula still has room for change and improvement. With that in mind, here’s my wishlist for what I’d like to see in the sequel to Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Keep Combat Intact

Even though early Final Fantasy games share similar turn-based combat systems, all of the modern entries have experimented with unique mixes of real-time action and menu-based commands. Final Fantasy VII Remake hits a real sweet spot there; the battles are stylish yet strategic, and the ability to swap control between party members highlights the different characters’ playstyles. Long story short, it’s one of the best combat systems in the whole series, so I don’t want the sequel to go back to the drawing board completely.

Don't Stray Too Far

I won’t reveal too much here, but one interpretation of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s ending is that it opens the doors for the rest of the narrative to be drastically different from the original. This first remake struck a great balance, alternating between faithful recreations and unexpected surprises, and it would be a shame to lose that. I still hope the team makes interesting changes and additions to the foundation, as long as the plot doesn’t go shooting off into completely uncharted territory. If you want to hear more on this topic, you can check out our spoiler-filled discussion about the ending.

Show Sephiroth Restraint

I don’t mind the fact that Final Fantasy VII Remake made Sephiroth an important part of the story sooner than the original. He’s a cool and iconic villain! But here’s the problem: He can’t maintain the same threatening mystique in the remake if players fight (and defeat) him multiple times throughout the course of several installments. If Sephiroth is going to hold up as a worthy foe, Square Enix needs to show a little more restraint and only bring him out for the important moments. He loses his menace if he’s constantly popping up in visions, cutscenes, fights, etc.

Better Sidequests

One of my few serious complaints about Final Fantasy VII Remake is the quality of the side content. They involved a lot of basic item-fetching and monster-killing tasks for generic NPCs. I’d love to see more interesting objectives, and get them from people who feel more like real characters with their own stories to tell. Also, it would be great if the sidequests were a bit more spread out, rather than being crammed together in just a few chapters.

Red XIII In Disguise

I don’t care how stupid it is. This needs to happen.

The Kalm Flashback

Okay, here’s the one exception to the whole “Sephiroth Restraint” thing I was talking about before. We need to see Cloud’s recollection of events in Nibelheim. In the original game, this happens during a flashback when the party reaches the town of Kalm, but it could unfold in a variety of ways. It just needs to hit three key points: Players should see Sephiroth’s full power on display, witness his descent into madness, and get a glimpse of Cloud while he was still aligned with Shinra. As long as that happens, I’ll be happy.

Revamp Summoning

The summoned monsters in Final Fantasy VII Remake are powerful and impressive, but the whole system surrounding them needs a bit of work. You can rarely ever make summons part of your strategy, because they aren’t reliably available in all fights. I’m sure the intent was to prevent players from just summoning their way to victory all the time, but this approach seems like an overcorrection. Despite appearances from iconic creatures like Ifrit and Leviathan, I rarely ever used summons because they felt like afterthoughts.

Data Transfer

I understand that directly transferring my save file from the first game to the second probably isn’t going to happen. After all, I spent a ton of time with Final Fantasy VII Remake's unique take on new game plus, and toiled away in the Shinra Combat Simulator earning the game-breaking Gotterdammerung accessory. If all that power carried over, it would just make things too easy for the sequel. But I want some recognition of the progress my characters have made! Maybe that means some bonus gear? Or a nice selection of materia from the start? If nothing else, I hope the next game acknowledges which of the three possible scenes players earned in Aerith's garden.

More Roche?

Look, I didn’t especially like Roche, but his appearances in Final Fantasy VII Remake will be even more baffling and pointless if he doesn’t resurface in future games. There needs to a be a reason he was built up and added to the story; he can’t just be limited to a motorcycle chase and a boss fight, right?

Playable Turks

This may just be a dream, but I’d really like to play as the Turks for a bit. They’re cool characters, and it would be awesome to see how they can combine their different skills and work as a team. Just putting that out there in the universe.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake

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